IS RADIO CONTROL FLYING A SPORT FOR YOU?
MAYBE YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A UNIQUE GIFT FOR YOUR SPOUSE OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBER?HOW EXPENSIVE IS IT?
HOW HARD IS IT?
WHAT PLANE SHOULD I BUY?
LET US HELP!
Members of Clark County Radio Control Society are able to help with your questions concerning model aviation. Like many hobbies that survive generations, our sport has evolved into very sophisticated equipment systems and models that demand varying degrees of investment and talent. It’s simpler, and less expensive than you might think!
Please review our “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section below, then:
To contact a club member for assistance:
Call John at 971-331-2236.
How expensive is it to fly R/C? What are the costs involved?
We know that riding a motorcycle requires thousands of dollars in costs which include annual maintenance costs, fees and all the gadgets and gizmos that go with it. You can fish from a lake with a $5 bamboo rod, or spend thousands each year on a boat, equipment, licensing and permits to fish in the river for salmon. You can join a local golf club to knock a ball around the grass, but soon you’ll be investing in better clubs, shoes, and paying exorbitant green fees, in some cases. Just joining a bowling league can cost several hundreds of dollars each year. Even maintaining a serious tropical fish tank gets expensive!Radio control modeling, in comparison, offers a great deal of flexibility in your spending. This writer started with a gift of an airplane that retails today for about $200.00 – ready to fly and no additional costs to maintain! This plane has replacements parts cheaply available at most hobby stores, and will offer you years of enjoyment. Some members spend less though, and we can show you how to obtain aircraft almost free! Of course, if you want to spend a couple of thousand dollars for your plane, we can guide you in that decision too – or maybe you’d like to invest in a turbine jet model – several thousands of dollars if you do!
The point is – like most hobbies, you can spend as much as you want – you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood, or you can keep it to a minimum and still enjoy all the best of what we do!
The hard costs in this area are your club fees – presently about $56.00 a year (less in certain categories), your national AMA fee – about $50.00 a year, and the cost of your airplane and equipment.
I’M WANTING TO BUY A GIFT FOR MY FRIEND/SPOUSE/KID… WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
It can be very daunting to try to delve through all the information on the internet. Visiting your local store is a good idea and you can get good advice in some places, like Hobbytown USA in Vancouver, WA. You can take your chances buying planes and equipment online, but you might say you’re rolling the dice when you do. The bottom line is this: remote control aircraft are not toys! It is important to get as much information as you can before you decide on your purchase. There are a lot of “knock-offs” out there that are just not suited at all to sustained flying and have very limited control characteristics.
You’ll find our members are very receptive to talking about their aircraft and why they fly what they do. You’ll be able to SEE AND HEAR the aircraft in operation ( how noisy are these things, really?!). You’ll be able to see how much room is required to fly them – a lot of airplanes can’t fly at the local park or your back yard!
Best answer to your questions – come visit us at the field! Talk to the guys out there and look at the aircraft yourself! Anytime the weather is nice, year-round, you’ll find people on the field. You can find directions from the link on our Home Page, or come to a club meeting and see the show and tell aircraft on display! If that is not convenient, please use the contact information listed above, and we’ll communicate that way.
But please don’t be a victim and buy an aircraft not suitable as a gift! Get the information you need from our courteous group of fliers. . . we’re here to help! There’s nothing worse than to award a new plane, only to see it fly immediately into the ground and be destroyed. You can avoid that all-to-often consequence!
HOW HARD IS IT TO FLY R/C?
That is a hard question to answer, because it really depends on the individual. Our club currently has members flying that are in their eighties, and we have young boy scouts that fly. We have lady fliers, and we have individuals that suffer from disabilities. There is no age limit, really – if you have hand/eye coordination, you should be able to handle the right airplane! You do need to have good vision and fairly steady hands, but technology can mitigate those conditions as well!
The good news is that if you’re not sure about the sport, try it out with our training program! More information on this is available from the link on our Home Page labeled “Free Lessons.” Essentially, we offer any new flier a chance to fly a club-owned aircraft with the guidance of an instructor. Here’s out it works: Your R/C transmitter is wired to the instructor’s transmitter – so the instructor can take over the airplane in flight with flip of a switch! Typically, most new students start out by allowing the instructor to get the plane flying and stable in the air. At that point, the student can take over and fly the plane – if it gets out of control the instructor immediately takes back control of the aircraft! The best news?? It’s absolutely free of charge! This is a courtesy we extend to new fliers to encourage your participation!
WHAT PLANE SHOULD I FLY? NITRO OR ELECTRIC? BIG OR SMALL? HELICOPTERS?
Model aviation started with free-flight gliders, and rubber band powered models. As the hobby evolved, modelers were flying their planes tethered to a handle (U-Control) – actually flying the planes at the end of a pair of strings with a handle that controlled the aircraft in flight, but you could essentially only run around in a circle pattern. When radio control technology was introduced, tethered planes diminished and true free flight, radio control operation began. Early technology used the FM band and present technology now uses the same technology modern cell phones use.
As the hobby evolved, changes to the power systems have evolved as well. Although gas-operated motors exist (for larger planes), most modelers today will use smaller 2 or 4-stroke engines that use a fuel mix called nitro-methane. But as electrical technology has been refined, more fliers are turning to the electric power systems.
Whether you fly the nitro models or the electric models is your choice! There are pros and cons on both sides of the debate, and is too diverse to discuss here. Some will argue electric aircraft are safer to operate. The nitro planes are almost “gas-n-go,” but require more field equipment in operation, tend to get greasy with the exhaust and require more and specialized maintenance. Many members fly both nitro and electric for the best of both worlds – that is, electric power is favored on smaller aircraft, but the nitro engines are still better suited for larger aircraft when you compare the operating costs.
Manufacturers today are also offering a wide assortment of micro-scale aircraft suitable for indoor flying that also include gyros for flight stabilization! Your decision to buy a particular model will depend on where your interests will take you!
Many members also fly helicopters that are sold in an ever-expanding price and size range. The fanciest helicopters have stabilization controls, gyros, collective pitch and many other features that make the flying accessible to more pilots. Even the micro-sizes available today are easier to fly, but are generally more suited to indoor flying. Flying the most advanced helicopters requires more piloting skill and understanding of your transmitter’s functions and options.
WHY SHOULD I JOIN AN R/C CLUB?
Flying R/C aircraft today requires you to operate with transmitters under controlled frequencies managed by the federal government. Although there is presently no licensing requirements, all responsible fliers accept the need to police ourselves with the hobby. There are potential liabilities with this sport as are in other hobbies.
Joining your local R/C club, like Clark County Radio Control Society (CCRCS) provides an opportunity for you to tap into all the resources, inside knowledge of the sport, special deals at local retailers, club meetings, prizes, instruction and support you need to develop your new hobby. Associating with fellow fliers in this sport is a big aspect of our hobby. It’s family-friendly! At CCRCS, our members enjoy a paved runway, covered shelters, pilots tables and stations, competition events and all the camaraderie that comes with a shared interest. Mentoring is provided for your child, if needed.
In association to joining any organized club such as ours, you’ll be required to join the national Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). All legitimate clubs, including CCRCS supports the funding and mission of the AMA. As our voice in congress, the AMA provides our collective clout against intrusive regulations that threaten the hobby. Find out more about the AMA at their website www.modelaircraft.org. The AMA also provides for much needed liability protection for the club, our facilities, and the fliers.
WHAT TYPE OF PLANE SHOULD I FLY?
Any visitor to our field will see gliders, ducted-fan jets, scale aircraft, fun-fly aircraft, foam models, wood models, large and small aircraft, helicopters and even planes as large as quarter-scale! Most airplanes that fly are sized by the slang vernacular: 10, 40, or 60 size aircraft. Most airplanes have a wingspan between 2 to 4 feet wide. Deciding what size and type of model you’re wanting to fly is a big reason to be a part of your local club! As part of the club, you’ll find out about all the different aspects of the different models – and the pros/cons associated with each.
If you drive a car, you can understand the difference clearly if you think of it this way: driving a VW Bug is a lot different from driving a souped-up Maserati sports car! And it’s the same with model aviation… some aircraft are indeed very tame in their flight characteristics, or you can fly an airplane that will approach 100 MPH down the runway!
SO WHAT ABOUT FLYING DRONES?
If you are thinking of joining the community of drone pilots, there is a lot to consider. The “drones” we hear about today in the new are not “drones” at all – they are really just quad-rotor helicopters with or without cameras and other navigation equipment such as GPS associated electronic functions. With the proliferation of the interest, many hobby pilots, unaffiliated with any organized club such as ours, threaten society and privacy norms in the misuse of their flying.
Those who seek to use their quadcopters for business use are now required to have certain certifications. Hobby pilots will not be flying their quadcopters out of sight range – if you do, you will lose it – just like aircraft. Toy “drones” have limited range and functions, and their is a vast disparity in the quality and price of drones on the market.
Camera drones are generally sold in three configurations: without a camera, or with a camera, or even FPV. FPV is an acronym for “First Person View,” and means the pilot can see the video from the drone while it is in flght, and can, in some configurations be piloted remotely using flight googles, or other systems. Camera drones will simply take video shots and pictures which is then saved on a small SD memory card and later used on a computer or similar device.
As of this update, the US government is devising policies and restrictions, fines and penalties for the use of hobby and commercial drones. Privacy is a big concern with citizens, as more and more hobby pilots abuse the functions of their product. It is wise to be courteous with your flying, and avoid flying over populated areas, private property, and government facilities such as airports and military facilities. It is not anticipated that toy “drones” will be subject to these restrictions.